Book Review: Blood Bank by Zoe Markham

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Blurb: Benjamin is a programmer moonlighting as a security guard at Dystopia, a seedy club that caters to the down-and-outs, the desperate, the addicts. He’s been building his reputation, saving for a way out – but when he rescues a young woman from the nearby estate, he may just have stepped too far out of line… 

Lucy is ordinary; a girl with a deadbeat boyfriend, a normal life and college studies. But when her world takes an odd twist, she starts to wonder about the people she’s meeting, the situations she’s in, the odd aversions and attacks happening around her. They’re just coincidences…aren’t they?

And Zack is in deep trouble. He’s losing his girlfriend, drowning in debt, and has dwindling job prospects – and that’s not the worst of it. His debt is to people who won’t ever forget it, and who want the things closest to Zack’s heart: his blood – and his life.

In the heart of Swindon, an ancient order hides in plain sight, spreading their influence through the streets like a disease. But despite their widespread power they are catching up with the modern world: the vampires are going online, and the Order is about to become more powerful than even they would have dreamed…

Blood bank

Author: Zoe Markham

Title: Blood Bank

Publisher: Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books

Date: 2017

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Despite having just read a vampire book, I wanted to give Blood Bank a go. There were no sparkly vampires in this novel: nitty-gritty bloodsucking villains, these vampires are not to be messed with.

The narration is split into three, following Ben, Lucy and Zack.

Ben is one of the `bad` guys, but is a vampire with a conscience. Instead of gambling nights away, Ben is a coder, focusing only on making money despite being undead. Ben is a likeable character and it’s easy to empathise with him at the beginning. His temper shows towards the end though; I really wanted him to just talk to Lucy rather than lashing out, which undermined his personality.

No one in their mind would ever believe his tale of vampiric priests and demon-run nightclubs – he’d be in a padded room before he’d even told them half of it.

Zack is one of the unfortunate few. Deep in debt to the Clan, the only way Zack can stop the interest building is regular blood donations. But it’s costing him everything: his life, his belongings, his girlfriend… I felt for Zack the whole way through; he tries so hard to protect those close to him but nothing he does seems to make a difference. His determination makes him impossible not to like.

Lucy gets thrown in the middle of it all. She knows Zack is hiding something, but after he abandons her in a bad part of town, Ben is thrown into her life when he comes to her rescue. Although Lucy is likeable enough and is a strong character, she thinks too much about people controlling her – some of those thoughts should have been turned into action.

The dynamics between the three of them were extremely well written. Lucy’s frustration coupled with Zack’s terror is shown clearly, while Ben’s reluctance to put her in harm’s way is chivalry at its best. Ben’s belief he loves her after a couple of meetings, however, was a touch cliché.

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The vampiric rituals and Clan dynamics were well established early on in the book, giving them a dangerous presence that underlined everything the characters did. Victor – the ultimate bad guy – is both chilling and terrifying at the same time!

The book is a quick read and is easily devoured in one sitting if you don’t mind the passages about the blood. This isn’t one for the faint hearted as there are some quite graphic descriptions of Zack’s donations. I’m not squeamish, but I shuddered more than once.

The one thing that confused me was the very beginning and very end. Why is it when vampires turn up, there are always werewolves? The story is initially introduced by a character then not seen until the end. He literally does not turn up for the rest of it at all, so much so that I had forgotten who he was. I’m not sure what that added to the story.

Blood Bank was only the first novel, and it ends with so many more questions than it answers that you want to keep reading to find out what happens. Not good if you don’t like blood, but overall, a captivating story.

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